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Rivers Probes N3bn Failed School Contracts …State PDP Expresses Shock

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The Rivers State Government has launched an investigation aimed at unraveling the circumstances surrounding the N3billion failed contracts awarded by the previous administration for the renovation of some secondary school buildings across the 23 local government areas of the state.
The contractors for the schools renovation were mobilised by the former Governor and now Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi-led government in 2015.
Announcing the jump-starting of the probe last Friday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Senior Secondary School Board Committee on the Implementation and Recovery of Looted Funds, listed the contractors, the local governments, communities, schools and the amounts released by the government for the execution of the contracts.
The committee also listed the contractors and the amount collected from government for the renovation of non-existent schools in the state.
It further directed the contractors to appear at the board’s Okija Street, D/Line office in Port Harcourt by 11am from Wednesday, June 29 to Wednesday, July 27, 2016, to explain why they collected the state government’s money without executing the contracts more than one year after.
Specifically, the committee directed Chimeagata & Services, G. Proof Global Nig Ltd, Nwaugah Jaccob Enterprises, Widereu Integrated Services Ltd, and Nyesemi Intergrated Services Ltd, which collectively collected N1,009,824,000.00 for non-existent schools in the state to appear on June 29 to give details of contracts, their status and any other further information the committee may require to justify the payment for the contracts.
The schools board committee also invited Mondo Progetti Ltd, Ella & Eghuan Ventures, D.P.&H Investment Nig Ltd, Piniebi& Imoh Nig Ltd, Zeus Global Interest Ltd, Chiread Ventures Nig, Building Concepts, Dapreach Nig Ltd, Neo-Brutini Ltd, and Brenton Wood &Trinity Ltd, which collected a cumulative sum of N337,000,000.00 for the renovation of Government Secondary School, Abua in Abua/Odual Local Government Area to meet with it on June 30, 2016, to furnish information on their contracts.
Also on June 30, Waby C. Nig Ltd, STE Office System Ltd, Benbross Global Resources, GAM 3G Ltd, Shadico Multi Services Ltd, and Wetland Works Ltd are to answer questions on the total N298million collected for the renovation of WACHS, Ahoada, in Ahoada East Local Government Area.
On the same day, Robel Global Services Ltd, Atisis Integrated Services, Hartward Enterprises Nig Ltd, Intesmag Network Services, Qantum Services Ltd, and Dorisdesmond Nig Ltd, would explain to the committee how a total sum of N118million given them to renovate GCSS, Ataba, in Andoni Local Government Area was expended without any work done on the school.
In the same vein, the committee directed Multisolid Construction Res Ltd, AB-Fabal Services Ltd, HBekel Global Services Ltd, Avomee Global Services Ltd, Mae International, XKlisive Image Line Services, and Goody’s Sunny Global Services to appear July 6 to explain what they did with a N242million collected to renovate GCSS, Mbiama in Ahoada West Local Government Area of the state.
Similarly, Kursco Nig Ltd, Salamander Investment Ltd, ING International Ltd, Apo-Biz Venture Ltd, Arod Investment Company Ltd, and the Reach Integrated Services are to explain what they did with a totl sum of N98million they collected from government to renovate CSS, Obonoma in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area on July 6.
Also on the same day, Intersect system Ltd, Josiah Jacob Nig Ltd, Etelbi Nig Ltd, Nyeseni Integrated Services, Husbani Integrated Services Ltd, and Cosini Nig Ltd are to tell the committee where they spent a total N95million they collected to renovate CSS, Ido in Asari-Toru Local Government Area.
The Tide further learnt that Harial Nig Ltd, Valine Nig Ltd, Fredat Investment Ltd, Omab Tech Services Ltd, Harold & Julius Investment Ltd and Bams Nig Ltd are to appear before the committee on July 7 to give details of how they expended a total N234million they collected to renovate CSS, Abalamabie in Bonny Local Government Are.
On the same day, Dear Maijaja & Co Ltd, Frimabo Nig Ltd, Sakim Nig Ltd, First Didi & Sons and BMS Nig Ltd will guests of the committee to explain how they spent N163million on GTC, Tombia in Degema Local Government Area that has not been renovated.
For GSS, Onne in Eleme Local Government Area, Alspace Contrat & Logistics Ltd, Movicks Services Ltd, Abhili Nig Ltd, Nyimejire Enterprises Nig Ltd, Bedomon Resources Nig Ltd, and Nemax Services Ltd are to explain on July 7, where N105.3million they collected to renovate the school went.
The Tide investigations revealed that 10 companies are to explain on July 13, where a total sum of N229million the collected to renovate GGS Umuola in Etche Local Government Area disappeared to.
Also six companies are to appear on July 13 to account for N189million they collected from government to renovate CHS, Ibaa in Emohua Local Government Area while eight other companies, will on the same day, give account of N245million they collected to renovate CSS, Kpor in Gokana Local Government Area.
In Ikwerre Local Government Area, six companies are to account for N225million they took to renovate GSS, Omerelu on July 14 while nine others are to explain how they spent N253million given to them to renovate BMGS, Bori in Khana Local Government Area.
Five companies are to account for N80.1million given them to renovate CSS, Rumuokurushi in Obio/Akpor while another five firms will explain what they did with N81million they took to renovate GCSS, Opobo, CHS, Nkoro and CSS, Opobo in Opobo/Nkoro.
Also, five firms apiece are to account for N72million and N67million they were given to renovate GSS, Ogu and NSS, Okrika in Ogu/Bolo and Okrika LGA, respectively.
Furthermore, Six firms that took N141million for CSS, Amaji in Omuma LGA, and Seven others that took N224million to renovate GGSS, Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA are to account for same on July 21.
For GSS, Oyibo, LGA, six firms are to account for N243million while in 12 others are to explain what happened to N495.5million they took to renovate EHS, Borikiri and GGSS, Oromenike in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
Nine companies are to explain how they expended N225million the collected to renovate GSS, Kpite in Tai LGA on July 27, 2016.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has described as shocking and wicked the many cases of uncovered diversion of funds meant for the rehabilitation of dilapidated public schools in the state under the administration of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Chairman of the state PDP, Bro Felix Obuah,  made this observation while reacting to the published list of persons invited by the state Senior Secondary Schools Board for explanations over monies received from the immediate past administration but not used for the projects so awarded and some, collected without project sites.
The state PDP chairman explained that it was more worried that a government that made so much noise about giving the best education the Rivers children could condone such recklessness, and allowed monies earmarked to renovate the schools and provide the right atmosphere for studying frittered away with careless abandon.
While enjoining the state government not to limit its searchlight on the mess in the education sector, Obuah said this is the kind of fraud the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should be going after with a view to recovering the loots and bringing to book the culprits.
The state PDP chairman, however, regretted that rather than spread its dragnet for such fraudsters to sanitize the society, the anti-graft agency was busy haunting opponents of the All Progressives Congress (APC), innocent citizens, most of whom have spent the better part of their lives in service to the country.
Notwithstanding the collaboration between those responsible for the parlous state of public schools and the general looting of Rivers State treasury and the anti-corruption agents, the Rivers State Government should not leave any stone unturned in exposing illegalities discovered anywhere in the state under the administration of Amaechi and those behind them no matter the social status of their perpetrators, Obuah urged.
He, therefore, urged all those implicated in the ghost contracts and looting in Rivers State to do the needful, by being ready and willing to refund the stolen funds and save the state further waste of scarce resources on litigations.

 

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Court Orders FG To Pay Rivers $1,114,551,610; A’Ibom $2,258,411,586

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo has ordered the Federal Government to pay Rivers State $1,114,551,610.00 and Akwa Ibom State $2,258,411,586.00, respectively.
The money is entitlements of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, based on the subsisting decision of the Supreme Court over production sharing contracts arising from the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts.
Taiwo delivered the judgment in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/174/2021filed by the Attorney General of Rivers State and Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State against the Attorney General of the Federation.
It would be recalled that in 2016, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states, through their Attorneys-General, had sued the Federal Government, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation at the Supreme Court in Suit No: SC.964/2016, seeking a declaration that there is a statutory obligation imposed on the Defendant (the Federal Government) pursuant to Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore Inland Basin Production Sharing Act, Cap.D3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, to adjust the share of the Federation in the additional revenue accruing under the Production Sharing Contracts if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds $20.00 per barrel.
The states had asked the court to declare that the failure of the Defendant to accordingly adjust the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue in the Production Sharing Contracts (variously approved by the Defendant) following the increase of price of crude oil in excess of 20.00 per barrel in real terms, constitute a breach of the said Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, and has therefore, affected the total revenue accruing to the Federation, and consequently, the total statutory allocation accruing to the Plaintiffs by virtue of the provisions of Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The three oil producing states further prayed the court to issue a consequential order compelling the Defendant to adjust the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue under all the Production Sharing Contracts in Nigeria’s oil industry within the Inland Water Basin Deep Offshore areas as approved by the Defendant from the respective times the price of crude oil exceeded $20.00 per barrel in real terms and to calculate in arrears with effect from August, 2003, and recover and pay immediately all outstanding statutory allocations due and payable to the Plaintiffs arising from the said adjustments.
It would be recalled that at the Supreme Court, the Attorney-General of the Federation opted for an out of court settlement, and consequently, terms of settlement were duly drawn up by the parties and entered as the judgment of the court.
The judgment specifically stated that the reliefs in the amended Originating Summons relating to the larger interest of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the entire citizenry of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be diligently implemented.
It was also agreed that the Attorney General of the Federation, working jointly with the Plaintiffs should undertake to immediately set up a body and the necessary mechanism for recovery of all lost revenue accruing to the Federation Account in the past and up till the date of full recovery and accruing in future or an acceptable instalmental payments thereof within 90 days next from the date of execution of these presents or its being made judgment of the court.
Following the judgment of the Supreme Court and in compliance therewith the Attorney General of the Federation, the Defendant, constituted a body to determine the respective liabilities including the amount due to oil mineral producing states as derivation proceeds.
The report of that body stated among others that Rivers and Akwa Ibom states were entitled to $1,114,551,610.00 and $2,258,411,586.00, respectively, as derivation proceeds.
However, Attorney General of the Federation, without recourse to the governments of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, unilaterally claimed to have settled with International Oil Companies (IOCs).
It was gathered that this unilateral action on the part of the Attorney General of the Federation as the Defendant in the judgment of the Supreme Court that led Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, to fill the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Based on the suit filed by the state, the Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo Taiwo, declared that Rivers and Akwa Ibom states were entitled to $1,114,551,610.00 and $2,258,411,586.00, respectively, as derivation proceeds.
The court also awarded a post judgment interest of 10 per cent in favour of the Plaintiffs until the final liquidation of the judgment.

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Declare State Of Emergency On National Assets, Experts Tell Buhari

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Against the backdrop of challenges facing national assets across the country, the Association of Facilities Management Practitioners of Nigeria (AFMPN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to declare state of emergency on public infrastructure.
The call was made by AFMPN President, Collins Osayamwen, in an interview with newsmen, while speaking on the new vista his leadership has opened for the association to play a strategic and critical role as a professional body charged with the responsibility of maintaining and managing public infrastructure if the bill at the National Assembly was passed into law and assented to by Buhari in order for Nigerians to enjoy public assets.
However, Osayamwen pointed out that public infrastructure has not been given the desired attention over the years as a result of not giving recognition to professional facilities managers who government needs to collaborate with to maintain critical national assets worth billions of Naira.
He said, “It is evidently clear that our public infrastructure is in a state of emergency and the government needs to declare a state of emergency in order to rescue our public infrastructure from total collapse.
“The reason for lack of maintenance of our infrastructure is not far-fetched.
“It is because, in Nigeria, the profession that is saddled with the responsibility of looking after the built environment does not exist in the list of professionals that constitute the building team.
“We are seriously concerned about the deplorable state and deficit of public infrastructure in Nigeria. In 2012, the Infrastructure Council of Regulatory Commission (ICRC), alluded that $12billion to $15billion was required annually for the next five to six years to bridge the infrastructure deficit gaps in Nigeria.
“It is worthy of note that if these figures are anything to go by, the situation should have become worse by now, nine years later.”
He also explained that in the built environment, architects are responsible for conceptualisation, design and supervision of the project; the Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers and even the IT engineers are responsible for design and construction of the building systems; the building engineer carries out the physical construction of the building.
“Now, let’s examine the role of these professionals. They all perform a certain function and they leave the site once their assignment is completed. Not even one of the professions listed above is trained to look after the building. Once the building is commissioned, they all leave the site for a new project.
“Unfortunately, all the activities carried out in the building up till the stage of completion is less than 20 per cent of the life cycle cost.
“The remaining on-going activities and cost of over 80 per cent is operations and maintenance cost and activities.
“This critical stage in a building life cycle is often neglected, hence, the poor state of our infrastructure. I cannot overemphasize the role of the facilities management practitioners in managing our built environment,” he stated.
According to him, the main reason Nigeria has not been able to maintain her infrastructure is because “the profession responsible for maintenance is not yet recognised for its strategic role in Nigeria as a profession and Facility Management profession is not recognised as a member of the built environment practitioners.
“Maintenance starts from the design stage of a facility. It requires painstaking planning, scheduling, budgeting, sustainable programme management and implementation of maintenance technologies, and others.
“It takes more than culture to effectively and efficiently maintain a facility. It requires time, money, and experience to maintain infrastructure,” he added.

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Flood Ravages NASS As Senate Confirms New COAS

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There was a downpour in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, yesterday morning, leaving several parts of the National Assembly Complex flooded.
The central lobby at the ‘White House’ section of the building, which adjoins the Senate and House of Representatives chambers, was flooded.
Other areas affected include the third and last gate to the premises as well as the road linking the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the National Assembly.
The Senate had resumed plenary, yesterday, while the House is to resume on June 28, 2021, as the National Assembly returns from a mid-term break.
At the lobby, workers of the two private firms engaged for cleaning services at the complex were busy mopping the floor while it rained.
Water could be seen dropping from several points on the famous green roof.
Some senators watched as the workers struggle to keep the floor dry.
During the plenary, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Maj-Gen Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff.
The Red Chamber took the decision after the consideration of the report of its Joint Committee on Defence and Army led by Senators Aliyu Wamakko and Ali Ndume.
Earlier, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, had on June 2, referred the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for Yahaya’s confirmation to the committee.
The Defence Committee, which is chaired by Wamakko, was mandated to be the lead panel to screen the newly appointed Army chief.
Yahaya was appointed to replace Lt-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in a plane crash with 10 other military officers while on an official trip to Kaduna State, last month.
Until his appointment, Yayaha was the Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East.
Meanwhile, at the House, the downpour delayed legislative activities as several committees which had scheduled the meetings and hearings for the morning were forced to delay the events, as several workers and guests were said to have been trapped in their vehicles.
For instance, the House Committee on Disabilities, which was to begin an investigative hearing on ‘The Need to Investigate the Alleged Violation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria and Private Airline Operators’ at 11am had to commence the event at about 12:15pm.
Also, the House Committees on Communications; Justice; Information and Culture; and National Security and Intelligence, which were to hold an investigative hearing on the recent ban placed on Twitter by the Federal Government shifted the event from 10am to 1pm.

By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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